Farm-Fresh Bread at Little Hat Creek Farm
When Little Hat Creek Farm’s Ben Stowe and Heather Coiner took over a plot of land in Nelson County previously tended by Appalachia Star Farm, they continued to grow ecological produce and operate a CSA. But the smell of fresh-baked artisan bread also now is wafting over the fields.
“I’m coming to the farm as a baker,” says Coiner, who just last year operated a bicycle-delivered bread CSA in Toronto. “So we thought it would be a good addition.”
She specializes in slow-fermented, hand-kneaded sourdough breads. A customer favorite so far is a somewhat offbeat corn-rosemary, made with herbs grown on the farm and a bit of white cornmeal from neighboring Woodson’s Mill. “It has the structure of sourdough, but the cornmeal makes it really creamy,” Coiner says.
Up until now, Coiner has been baking in a kitchen oven, but by early spring she and Stowe hope to finish building a wood-fired outdoor clay oven that will allow her to triple capacity to 90 loaves in a single firing. The beneficiaries of that increased production include Little Hat Creek’s CSA members, who receive a loaf of bread in every weekly produce box. “The CSA is where I get to bake some new, fun breads that we don’t take to market,” Coiner says.
Find Little Hat Creek Farm products at farmers’ markets in Nelson County, Lexington, and Charlottesville, and at littlehatcreek.com.